Inmate up next in trial

Written by Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate October 29, 2012 05:22 pm

District Attorney Jon Alexander’s State Bar trial has been put on hold until prosecutors can interview Michelle Taylor, who is in the Del Norte County Jail.

Taylor is at the heart of four of the seven charges, including corruption, the State Bar  has brought against Alexander.

Alexander testified earlier this week.

Taylor’s deposition hasn’t been scheduled, but it will likely not happen until next month.

Closing arguments will be submitted in documents to the court from both sides. Then the judge will have 90 days to make a decision.

Alexander told the Triplicate the court granted his request to have a digital recorder fingerprinted that was used to secretly record a conversation between Alexander and Taylor.

The Triplicate has obtained a copy of the recording. Alexander declined to comment about the contents of the audio.

“I’m not prepared to comment on anything that isn’t authenticated,” said Alexander.

The recording is poor quality and static-laden throughout, rendering some parts  indecipherable. There are two times in the recording when Alexander is speaking and the recording cuts to a new sentence. The recording depicts a conversation that lasted about four minutes.

Taylor begins the conversation by telling Alexander she needs to talk to him about “something I was involved in.”

She began by saying she had been caught with drugs on March 31, 2011.

He asked if she had an attorney and she said she did: Darren McElfresh.

Alexander stated he shouldn’t be talking to her.

Taylor stated that she understood, but continued the conversation, insisting that drugs found by officers belonged to her and not to Damion Van Parks, who was arrested at the same time.

According to court documents, she initially told officers that Van Parks threw two bags containing marijuana and methamphetamine on her lap and directed her to hide it before the two were pulled over in a truck driven by Van Parks.

In a recent interview with the Triplicate, Taylor reverted back to her initial claim that the drugs were not hers and she was trying to take the blame for Van Parks to prevent him from being sent to prison.

The recorded conversation continued with Alexander explaining what punishment Taylor could be facing and Taylor continuing to steer back to the point that the drugs were hers.

It concluded with Alexander telling Taylor to let McElfresh know the two spoke.

Alexander told the Triplicate on Friday that the conversation took place after a separate conversation about entering a drug rehabilitation program he had with McElfresh and Taylor in the courthouse, when he was given permission to speak with Taylor.

The timing of these conversations have been described differently by participants.

McElfresh told the Triplicate on Friday he only gave permission to Alexander to speak with Taylor in his attendance and that the courthouse conversation took place on July 11, 2011.

Alexander stated the conversation took place before then.

He also stated he was under the impression that he had McElfresh’s permission to speak with Taylor about the drug rehab privately. Alexander said the recorded conversation occurred after that  courthouse conversation involving all three.

He has stated previously the recorded conversation took place July 8, 2011.

Taylor said in the recent jailhouse interview that it took place in June 2011. She claimed she was unaware that she was carrying a tape recorder, which she said was slipped by Van Parks into a jacket she was wearing.

Van Parks could not be reached for comment.

The audio recording starts out with Taylor seemingly in a car with the radio playing. An ABC News segment is heard reporting that President Barack Obama had appointed Martin Dempsey as chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

That appointment was made May 30, 2011.

McElfresh said that he wasn’t aware of the recorded conversation until Alexander told him about it in August 2011.

Alexander has acknowledged he may have erred in talking with Taylor without McElfresh present, but the DA denied attempting to gather incriminating evidence against her.

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